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Big Ben "fly_mo" (Bedford, UK)

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What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
by Randall Munroe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 7.49

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, humorous, and there's even an error on Page 4! Deliberate? Probably... (no spoilers here, details in comments), 4 Sep 2014
Randall Munroe is an ex-NASA robotics guy, physics graduate, and cartoonist of great merit.
The cartoon is called XKCD, for reasons that are (of course) documented on his site.
The cartoons are so erudite that there is another web site (a para-site?) called explainxkcd that explains the XKCD cartoons on a daily basis.
You won't need that sort of help when reading this book. It is suitable for all ages and abilities, and opens with the question he 'researched' as a 5-year-old. Recorded in writing by his Mum, it seems. A precocious kid who has fulfilled his early promise!
The title says it all. What it does not say is that the book is gently humorous, and takes care to explain the science content in terms that are plain to all, and (at the same time) it is not over-simplified for an old, hairy engineer/navigator - like me.
A great read.
There is an error on page 4. Yes, really.
Suspect it is there to entertain people like myself - it caused me more glee than seems fair! < enormous grin >
Details will be popped into the comments to avoid being a spoiler here.
Recommended for everybody!
Big thanks to Amazon for delivering this (for free) on the morning that the book was released here.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2014 11:45 AM BST

Computer Gear 24-1505 - Desktop PC microphone slimline design (Black)
Computer Gear 24-1505 - Desktop PC microphone slimline design (Black)
Offered by Wishtrac (VAT receipt supplied)
Price: 4.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job for online speech/recording with a PC, 6 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Inexpensive microphone that works well for Skype and other VOIP, in-game or on-line communication.
Not ideal for (eg) recording vocal tracks or acoustic instruments, but that typically calls for a more costly mike.
It assembles easily, stands by itself on the desktop, gets near enough to the face to work well with Skype,
and all for under a fiver.
Recommended for speech applications!

Eliconn G3-M11 Sized Memory Insole Comfort Foot Memory Foam Insole for Any Shoe (White) - pair
Eliconn G3-M11 Sized Memory Insole Comfort Foot Memory Foam Insole for Any Shoe (White) - pair
Offered by buysku ltd
Price: 2.16

3.0 out of 5 stars Soft, but..., 6 Aug 2014
Memory foam can be very good for insoles.
But this works less well than expected - it's better than nothing, but the foam collapses to nothing under the heel (which I expected) and in other places in the shoe. So, not much padding effect where it has collapsed.
It's being used uncut in a pair of size 11 all-leather shoes that are a perfect fit on my foot, I just wanted a softer feel, and these insoles only deliver that feel when you are not standing on them.
Perhaps too soft? Certainly too thin when in use and standing on them.
I'm big (over 6 foot), but not over-weight according to the NHS and I'd hoped for better.
Might work better on a much smaller person?
Not sure. You'd have to try it out to be sure.

Just Laptops HP 0950-2880 (19V 3.16A 60W) Compatible Laptop Power Supply Charger Adapter with Power Cord and 1-Yr Warranty
Just Laptops HP 0950-2880 (19V 3.16A 60W) Compatible Laptop Power Supply Charger Adapter with Power Cord and 1-Yr Warranty
Offered by Just Laptops Ltd.
Price: 12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars which is good, and delivers 1 volt more, 6 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Reasonable "HP-compatible" mains brick that now powers our antique G-55 MFP that is approaching 20 years old. It has more current capability than the original 0950-2880, which is good, and delivers 1 volt more, which is not ideal, but works on ours so far.

Syma F3 Mini 4 CH 9" RC Helicopter 2.4GHz w/ Built-in Gyro RTFOrange Syma F3 Mini 4 CH 9" RC Helicopter 2.4GHz w/ Built-in Gyro RTF (White)
Syma F3 Mini 4 CH 9" RC Helicopter 2.4GHz w/ Built-in Gyro RTFOrange Syma F3 Mini 4 CH 9" RC Helicopter 2.4GHz w/ Built-in Gyro RTF (White)
Offered by Kastone electronics
Price: 27.09

2.0 out of 5 stars Photo is seriously different from description, sadly, 1 Aug 2014
This Syma helicopter may well be OK (Syma make pretty good model helos, generally) , but the description says:
" ....automatic identification, precise code pairing and strong anti-jamming Single blade, Flybarless balance system."

This contradicts all the pictures shown in one important respect.

"Flybarless Balance System" is clear enough, there is no Flybar used on this machine.
But the pictures clearly show a Flybar! (It's the long thing on the top with weights at the end)

This is important, since the Flybar does indeed balance the helicopter, it is a gyroscopic mechanical balancer.
"Flybarless" balance systems are much more sophisticated, they use electronic gyros to control the cyclic servos.

"Flybarless" is more costly, usually reckoned to be better, and is generally more desirable.

OK - why write a review - why not contact the seller? I did...

Kastone electronics answered:
"Thank you for your enquiry, The pictures show a flybar rotor refers to the black rotor ,"Flybarless" in descriptions refers to the Flybarless balance system,it is a part which connect the flybar rotor , airscrew and the fuselage,i wish this will help you,best wishes!"

Even making sympathetic allowances for someone struggling with English, this does not make sense, and does not answer the basic question "Why is there a Flybar on this 'Flybarless' system?"

...and no reply to my follow-up question. Oh well.

So I can't recommend this helicopter, since the description may well be wrong in other respects.
Pity, since I was feeling tempted, and had hoped that it was just a typo or a wrong photo.

Trufire Corp. Draw Check Tool
Trufire Corp. Draw Check Tool
Offered by ShopCuscus
Price: 33.94

2.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, sloppy execution, silly price..., 10 Jun 2014
...We've seen these a few times in different places, and applaud the idea of a safe way to check draw-length - and (perhaps more useful on a daily basis) to be able to do daily draw exercise with minimal risk of accidentally dry-firing the bow. Compound bows are even less tolerant of this than the recurve bows that I learned on in the 1950s. The damage can be spectacular, and there is a risk of injury too.
So - if it's such a good idea, why the two stars?
Firstly, the thing _should_ fit as well as your own release does if it is to be truly useful.
The examples we have seen on our travels are all pretty small, and would not fit me. Yes, I'm fairly big, but my own release (purchased here on Amazon UK) has its strap almost as tight as it will go - just two holes before the end.
Some of the reviews on this page suggest that size was a problem for other purchasers of this tool.
Secondly, the price asked here today by 'ShopCuscus' is over 54 including postage. What?
Even if it fits you perfectly, that is *not* a good deal for a hook with a wrist strap attached.
So, not recommended at this price.
Finally, what is it actually worth?
An off-the-shelf S-hook (or Z-hook) from the local hardware store would hook onto the adjustable strap of my own archer's release aid - and after a bit of gentle modification with pliers it fits and stays there reliably in the right place.
Using this modified hook, I can then hook onto the D-loop on my bowstring and exercise as much as I like.
Total cost? 70p for five of them at Amazon UK! S Hooks - Set of 5 (small)
Now, these are not identical to my high street hooks, but they are pretty similar and they are at the popular price!
That's 14p for each item that effectively replaces this 54 offer...
My sympathies to 'ShopCuscus' - perhaps there is an error in their pricing? ...and the postage too?
Would be happy to alter this review should that be the case. These things happen.
But Fifty-four Pounds vs 14p? No contest. Not recommended.

This is the release I use:
Archery Compound Bow Release Aid Archery - Compound Accessories
It is set up with the release strap as short as possible, and the wrist band buckle is on the third hole from the short end - only two holes showing. My S-hook is a little smaller than the ones linked to on Amazon UK - so might need another minute or two of work to make one fit your own release configuration.

Archery Compound Bow Release Aid Archery - Compound Accessories
Archery Compound Bow Release Aid Archery - Compound Accessories
Offered by sportsworld-global
Price: 11.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works well and fair value too, 28 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is 'My First Release Aid' that's been bought from Amazon rather than home-made - it's not as neatly made as the more expensive ones we've seen and tried at clubs, but it does the job OK (so far) on my 55lb compound bow - which is also my first compound after years (and years!) with a steel recurve bow since my school days.
It does the job really well, attaching positively and releasing cleanly. Much more cleanly than me using a finger tab - which is in any case not recommended for a compound bow.
I have yet to experience any problems with using it once it was adjusted to suit my (pretty big) hand. It would fit a really huge hand if necessary, but might need new holes in the strap for a small wrist.
Adjustment takes time and patience, or maybe someone more experienced with this type of release than I am.
But once adjusted it works reliably - no accidental releases so far.
So - why not 5 stars?
The mechanism works well, but the trigger travel is fairly long and a fair bit stiffer than more costly offerings.
A couple of sprays with PTFE dry lubricant followed by some 'exercise' of the action made ours a bit less stiff.
On the other hand...
This trigger travel and stiffness adds to the security of the release at the expense of refinement - so it may suit a beginner more than a guru familiar with using release aid mechanisms.
I'm happy with it as it is, but you might like it less.
But there is no trigger adjustment, so it could be a show-stopper if it doesn't suit you.
The swivel attachment is a bit crude. It works, but it's less than ideal.
So, not perfect, but a good 4 stars worth.
It is fair value compared with other offerings, and it works well enough.
Recommended for first ventures into using Release Aids!

Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Pratchett!, 20 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Despite failing health, Sir Terry's sense of humour is evidently still in fine fettle, as is the entire cast of Discworld. New characters and old friends are treated with equal craftsmanship and the plot rattles along all too fast - and then it's over and time to write this review. The plot would not be complete with out a surprise twist or two, and there is no disappointment there.
I really enjoyed it, hope you do too!
Recommended to Pratchett fans old and new.

AMD Quad Core A10-Series APU for Desktops A10-6800K with Radeon HD 8670D (AD680KWOHLBOX)
AMD Quad Core A10-Series APU for Desktops A10-6800K with Radeon HD 8670D (AD680KWOHLBOX)

1.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good APU, but price asked is outrageous., 20 May 2014
The AMD APU series is a pretty good fit for some uses - this A10-6800K is the fastest of last season's 'Richland' architecture, which can be speedier than the newer 'Kaveri' architecture that has more GPU but a slower CPU with less overclock capability.
The main attraction of the Richland is that it should be a bit cheaper...
A few quid either way is fair enough - there's more to a purchase than just the price, but...
Today this is substantially more than TWICE the price asked for the same item elsewhere on Amazon UK !
So - NOT recommended, folks.
(And there are other places in the UK that sell these cheaper than that.)
I'll happily edit this review should the price return to something nearer normal.

The Long Earth
The Long Earth
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, fantastical, and yet so close to todays hard science!, 18 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Long Earth (Paperback)
The collaboration between two of my favorite authors is a scary event for me.
The possibilities are wonderful, but they raise expectations that might be disappointed, so it was with a mixture of trepidation and gleeful anticipation that I opened The Long Earth for the first time.
No need to worry!
The writing is assured, and the central topic is based on science rather than Discworld Magick - one might assume that this is down to Stephen Baxter rather than Sir Terry Pratchett, but Sir Terry is also responsible for the remarkable Science of Discworld series that combines entertainment, humour, fantasy and proper science in a number of (highly recommended) volumes.
Laugh as you learn, indeed.
The Long Earth is all-new in both concept and execution.
Nothing of other works by these two excellent authors was detected in it. It brings the infinite worlds view of the universe screaming into the 21st century with the aid of a potato.
Yes, you can tell that Terry Pratchett is involved! But the potato is there for a solid scientific reason.
At one stroke the two authors have created a vast canvas on which to display their skills, and the characters depicted on that canvas do them justice. One of the more interesting characters is no longer wholly human, which adds greatly to the possibilities.
The old Hollywood blockbuster maxim was something like "Start with an earthquake, then build to a climax", this book starts with the deconstruction of human society as we know it, and yes, it does builds to a climax that left me wanting more.
The Long Earth is the first of a trilogy (at least) since there are now three books in the series, I'm about get in the queue to buy them.
Sir Terry is no longer able to type easily due to Alzheimers, but says he finds dictation works even better for him - believe that he published four books last year, a major effort for any author, and more to come this year too.
Stephen Baxter is a remarkable author in his own right and deserves his fair share of the credit. Famously he collaborated with the legendary Sir Arthur C Clarke on the Time Odyssey series in addition to his own future history series and much more. Interesting to see how the two of them have managed to produce this volume so seamlessly.
Recommended for many reasons, not least that it was fun, fresh, and fantastical too.

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